Humility Homes & Services has received enough financial support to continue increasing capacity this winter at its Davenport homeless shelter.
The winter emergency shelter (as part of the year-round shelter at 1016 W. 5th St., Davenport) will open Dec. 1, as Humility has received commitments from all cities and counties requested by Nov. 1, executive director Ashley Velez said Wednesday.
Funding from Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, Bettendorf, Scott County, and Rock Island County, along with other partners total $230,000 to expand winter shelter capacity. While specific funding amounts are yet to be finalized, these commitments have bolstered the organization’s confidence in providing critical support this winter.
In collaboration with local government entities, Humility Homes and Services is estimating approximately $150,000 in support from these cities and counties in the greater Quad Cities area, according to a Thursday news release.
Additional pledges from the state, Quad City Housing Council, and Downtown Davenport Partnership total approximately $80,000. The remaining funds needed to ensure the increased winter shelter capacity are expected to come from support of donors and the local funding community.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the city governments of Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, and Bettendorf, as well as Scott County and Rock Island County, for their visionary leadership and investment in this crucial endeavor,” said Ashley Velez, executive director of Humility Homes and Services. “Without their commitment and the stances they’ve taken, our expanded winter shelter capacity would not have been possible.”
“While we have secured substantial financial commitments, our work is far from over,” she said. “We continue to call upon our community for private donations of blankets, cold weather gear, hygiene products, and more. Together, we can make a significant impact on the lives of those who are most at risk.”
The organization remains steadfast in its commitment to building stability funds and devising a comprehensive community plan that will ultimately eliminate the need for increased winter shelter capacity in the future, the Thursday release said.
This milestone marks a significant step towards meeting the needs of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. “We believe that, as a community, we can work together to ensure that homelessness is not a recurring issue, and this expansion is a step in the right direction,” Velez said. “Your support, whether in the form of donations, volunteer hours, or advocacy, is invaluable in our mission.”
But even as the capacity is increased in the year-round shelter, the nonprofit and the Quad Cities Housing Council are ending that practice after 2024.
Humility took over the shelter (in conjunction with the Quad Cities Housing Council) five years ago after King’s Harvest said they were going to close it, Velez said. That’s when they put together a five-year plan to phase out the increased winter capacity, which requires significant increases in staff, equipment and materials like bedding and blankets.
“The intention was to close the shelter, the need for the winter shelter within five years, because there were other working arms that are working, but there’s not enough investment overall,” Velez said recently.
They previously said they would not expand the shelter capacity this winter unless they received funding, “because we can’t — nor should we — take all the brunt of the financial burden of this,” she said.
The increased capacity typically goes from 80 served at once (year-round) to 130 in the winter, by opening the basement level with its own restrooms. They projected a larger amount to raise this year, because they want to end it and need to show they can do this together, Velez said.
Velez (who is vice chair of the Housing Council) said the winter shelter had served 386 people in 2018-19, and that number has steadily declined, to 144 last winter.
The implementation of the winter shelter adds a minimum of four additional full-time seasonal staff positions, an additional safety officer, and an increase in the demand for essential services, and basic needs.
For more information on Humility’s services, visit its website HERE.